Learning Measurement Comes First

If your company is like most companies, you are interested in learning measurement and ROI. But you might have some challenges if your learning programs are already in place. At this point you have to try to figure out how you’re impacting organizational results with something that might not have been designed to do that in the first place. shutterstock_199635125 copy

What I’m getting at is this: learning measurement needs to be a part of initial program design. Before you teach the first class, launch an online eLearning module, or design a piece of content, you should be thinking about how you are going to measure your program’s results.

Currently Operating Programs

Let’s say you have a learning program in place right now that you’re interested in measuring. Each company has different ideas about how to accomplish this, and it can be overwhelming to find out the right outcomes. The good news is that I have several examples of how companies are measuring their own programs to share with you.

Ingersoll Rand

Despite having multiple systems to measure and track information, Ingersoll Rand faced challenges with having the right information at the right time, and integration proved a substantial problem for its existing solutions. The manufacturing conglomerate needed a solution that built on existing assets and enabled increased integration with other core systems. It ultimately settled on a learning technology solution that helped the leadership to form an effective learning measurement framework. This led Ingersoll Rand to create a number of dashboards displaying real-time data and analytics from across the organization.

In this example, Ingersoll Rand used a few data points to measure the success of the program:

  • Increased LMS adoption (unique visitors, hits, page views)
  • Reduction in training time
  • Reduced need for LMS support staff (migrated to a hosted solution)
  • Increased reporting/visibility on learner progress
  • Improved eCommerce training revenue


Our case study on Unilever’s learning measurement approach is one of my favorites. The company delved into statistics for overall skill-based measurement, and then used those statistics to construct assumptions and conclusions that reflect real-life situations. Unilever’s primary assumption was that by looking at each individual’s skills as a whole, it would better understand the drivers needed to develop the workforce. Metrics used to evaluate the program’s impact:

  • Churn and the effect on tenure and skill levels
  • Skill assessments and their connections to performance ratings
  • Tenure when peak skill levels reached
  • The effect of onboarding and skill acquisition

The Pre-Launch Phase

If you’re reading this and you are in the early conception stages of a training initiative, then you are in luck. You have the opportunity to start thinking about this from the beginning and design pieces of the learning program with the intent to analyze results.

I would encourage you to look at the examples above, but also be sure to think about your own organization and its unique goals and objectives. We want to not only outline the metrics we want to gather, but how we plan to capture them, what system they will reside in, and how others will have access to the data.

The following checklist will help you to make sure you’re thinking through the options before you begin your learning initiative.

  • What is the ultimate business objective we’re trying to support? For example, we may be attempting to improve customer satisfaction scores.
  • How are we going to measure the impact? Will it be as simple as baselining existing scores and measuring the change post-training? Are there other data sources that could help to shed light on results, such as first call resolution or net promoter scores if we’re in a call center environment?
  • Who will measure the data and how often?
  • How will the data be shared and with whom?
  • Will we test with a pilot program or roll it out immediately?
  • What improvement or change would cause us to consider the program a success?

I admit that this seems complex, but imagine the alternative of getting this program launched and then trying to decide how to measure its impact. Waiting to ask some of these questions until after the fact could impact the quality and quantity of results you gather.

This isn’t the final word on learning measurement, but hopefully now you have a better grasp on how other companies are making it happen and how you can change your approach to incorporate measurement into the design process.

How does your organization measure learning effectiveness? What are the benefits you’re seeing?

Ben Eubanks, Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group


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